Thanks to UNBC students, public transit is free during 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George

University of Northern B.C. student Eryn Beddoes stands alongside bus at the Prince George university
UNBC student Eryn Beddoes is a member of the sustainability committee raising funds to provide free public transit during the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George. (Photo courtesy UNBC)

Students use bottle drives, donations to raise $2,100 a day to pay for transit

When the 2015 Canada Winter Games take place in Prince George in February, public transit will be free to everyone thanks to the efforts of students from the University of Northern British Columbia and their Pave the Way campaign.

Emily Harrison is the sustainability manager for the Games and said that students wanted to do something “grassroots” that would give every person in Prince George an opportunity to contribute to the effort to make the games green.

“I am a mere facilitator,” said Harrison. “This is something entirely student run.”

Pave the Way has fully funded public transit at a cost of $2,100 per day for the entire 18-day event. BC Hydro is among several corporations sponsoring entire days of the initiative, but Harrison said that “donor fatigue” is an issue in the community. So students targeted stakeholders who have an interest in sustainability but fall outside the “typical corporate sponsorship world”.

BC Hydro will sponsor two games during the Games.

The sponsorships were supplemented by regular bottle drives held by the students, including regular collections from restaurants who donated their weekly supplies.

The free transit initiative is available to everyone in the community, whether they are attending the Games or not. “The entire community can benefit from something like this,” said Harrison.